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Becky Hammon, 1st NBA female assistant coach, earns another promotion

Becky Hammon, the NBA’s first female assistant coach, may not yet be an NBA head coach, but she’s getting closer. Last month, she became the first woman to interview for an NBA head-coaching job, and on Wednesday she was promoted by the San Antonio Spurs.

The former WNBA star will now take a position in the front row of the San Antonio bench next to head coach Gregg Popovich, filling the spot left open by James Borrego, who recently became Charlotte’s new coach. Hammon joined the Spurs’ coaching staff in 2014, was one of six assistants under Popovich last season, and coached the Spurs’ summer league squad to a championship in 2015.

Hammon played her college ball at Colorado State, which also considered her for its men’s head-coaching job, before a 16-year WNBA playing career during which she was a six-time All-Star. She retired in 2014 to accept the San Antonio assistant-coaching job.

Hammon is also a devout Christian. According to the New Yorker, Hammon gave her life to Christ at the age of 7, and her family attended church in South Dakota every Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night. Her mother, Bev, thought she’d become a minister or a missionary.

Though she went on to a successful and groundbreaking career in basketball, Hammon’s faith gives her “courage and comfort.”

“You can’t separate the two,” she said of her faith and basketball. “It would be like trying to strain my white blood cells from my red blood cells. It would be like trying to separate my personality from my soul.”

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